Ples Montgomery and his mom Bettie started the "Veggie Project" to help feed families within their Dallas Oak Cliff community.
According to the national census data, there are half-a-million people in Dallas who are considered to be food insecure. "This community is what's known as a food desert," said Ples Montgomery. He was born and raised in Oak Cliff. "I actually use the term 'food swamp,' which means there is access to food, however that food is not the best for the people in the community," said Montgomery. Tired of the lack of options, he decided to create the "Veggie Project" with the help of his mom.
The mother and son team, sets up a fresh vegetable and fruit store every month to provide free produce for the families in Oak Cliff. "it's a very very satisfying feeling. I am grateful that I have been placed here to do this kind of service," said Bettie Montgomery. "As a nurse, my perspective is all about health. So the idea that we can provide a healthy alternative is very necessary. Some of the people in this community are riddled with diabetes and blood pressure issues, and most of that can be traced back to food," she said.
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In addition to the store, they are cultivating vegetables and fruit plants in a community garden. "This year we have different kinds of bell peppers, zucchinis, squash, tomatoes, eggplants, basil, onions, and we're incorporating flowers to bring our pollinators back in. We also planted some trees n the garden. We have pomegranate trees, peach trees, and plum trees. We hope to create an urban orchid," said Ples Montgomery.
The Veggie Project opened its doors Saturday, April 20th at 10:30 am at 5915 Singing Hills Dr. Dallas, TX 75224.